ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — A recent study found hate crimes against the LGBT community have increased more than a third in the past 20 years. According to the study from security.org, nearly 12 percent of all hate crimes target the LGBT community.
Now, students from a local university are getting involved and inviting others to learn more about the LGBT community.
Sue Patterson, Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion Programming at Penn State Altoona, said part of the problem is people being afraid of showing their true colors and getting judged because of it.
“They want to be amazing members of the community, and they already are. It’s just so often they’re doing it quietly where people don’t know because they’re afraid of the retribution they might get if they come out,” she said.
President of Pride Alliance at the school, Amarillys Aponte-Lee, said the language used to talk about the LGBT community is overwhelmingly negative.
“That spreads the message that being gay or being bisexual or being lesbian is a negative things, and that’s what we don’t want,” she said.
That’s why students in the Pride Alliance and the school are organizing a pride parade.
“It’s important to still be aware and educated on current events altogether and not just assume that things are getting easier because they really aren’t…yet,” Aponte-Lee said.
It’s the first of its kind ever in Blair County.
“Lgbt members are part of your community they’re already here. They;re active. They’re amazing. They’re doing great things. All they’re asking from our community is for you to look at them and say, ‘You’re one of us,’ instead of looking for how we’re different,” Patterson said.
Plans for the pride are for October 11th at 6:30 p.m. in Downtown Altoona, which is National Coming Out Day.
Those interested in being a part of the parade can go to the Facebook page for Pride Alliance at Penn State Altoona.